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Lauzun (Municipality, Lot-et-Garonne, France)

Last modified: 2024-04-27 by olivier touzeau
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Presentation of Lauzun

Lauzun (735 inhabitants in 2021; 2,409 ha) is a commune in the Lot-et-Garonne department.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 April 2022

Lauzun is said to have been named for larks (Latin, "losa") that enjoyed the grain crops established in a clearing atop a hill; the name of the place would then have evolved to Lausa, Lausum, and eventually Lauzun. There is, unfortunately, no historical evidence for this nice etymology.
Ruined in the 5th-6th centuries, the site of the oppidum established by the Gallo-Roman to watch the neighborhood was reused in the Middle Ages to build a primary fort.
The Caumont were already known as lords of Lauzun in the 12th century. Nompar I took the party of the northern lords during the Albigensian Crusade. His son, Anissant, was a brother of arms of Simon de Montfort. During the Hundred Years' War, the Caumont remained loyal to the king of France. Jean-Adam Caumont, self-styled Baron of Puyguilhem, was challenged by Roddique de Villandrado, a Spanish adventurer leading 4,000 irregular soldiers claiming to serve France, who eventually besieged and seized the castle of Lauzun. At the end of the war, the lords of Lauzun had to settle several territorial disputes with their neighbors.
During the Wars of Religion, François ed Caumont remained loyal to the Catholic party, bravely fighting with Montluc.
Lauzun was erected a county in 1570. In 1576, king Henri III of Navarre, not yet king of France Henry IV, came to the castle, without warning, for having supper and spend the night. The count ordered to ring the bell to call his vassals, who were so numerous that upset Henry asked to disband the bell, complaining that "his cousin had more vassals than himself". Gabriel de Caumont remained once again loyal to the king of France during the civil war that broke out in Guyenne in 1621-1622, and was severely injured during the siege of Tonneins-Dessus. The count subsequently supported the Prince of Condé in his struggle against Queen Ann of Austria. In 1652, a royal army sent to destroy the castle of Lauzun was violently repelled. [source: municipal website]

Antonin, "the handsome Lauzun" (1632-1723), was the third of the nine children of Gabriel de Caumont and Charlotte de la Force. The episodes of his long and adventurous life constituted a juicy material for the court memoirist Saint-Simon (1675-1755), who wrote in 1705 that "Monsieur de Lauzun is a name to be considered very quickly if he is dedicated only one volume or even more". Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) wrote in the famous "Caractères" that "It is not allowed to dream as he lived". A simple, poor Gascon cadet, Antonin was sent by his father to Paris, where his cousin, the Marshal of Gramont (1604-1678), trained him to court's life. He soon earned a well-deserved repute of elegant rider and, most of all, great seducer. Louis XIV (r. 1643-1715) appointed him colonel of the Dragon's Guard and, in 1660, Captain of the Hundred Gentilhommes.
The king enjoyed Lauzun's witty spirit and audacity, which triggered jealousy from several courtesans of higher rank. Louvois (1641-1691), State Secretary of War, intrigued to get Lauzun's appointment as Grand Master of the Artillery cancelled. Upset, Lauzun asked his good friend, Madame de Montespan (1640-1707), then the king's favorite, to intercede in his favor. Not too confident, Lauzun hid under the favorite's bed and could hear her persuading the king to disgrace him. Subsequently, holding her hand, he repeated to her, sotto voce, everything she had said, insulted her and promised, still softly, to cut her face and tongue. Saint-Simon reports that the Montespan arrived at the court "more dead than alive" and that the king and herself believed that "only a demon could have given such a quick and faithful report of their discussion".
Two days later, dissatisfied Lauzun dared asking the king why he had denied the promised office, broke his sword and shouted "I don't want to serve any longer a prince who did not fulfill a promise for a woman of nothing." Since a king could not beat a gentilhomme, Louis XIV threw his stick through an open window. Lauzun was arrested and jailed in the Bastille fortress. Six months later, missing his spirit and, most probably, admiring his audacity, the king pardoned him and welcomed him again at the court.
At the same time, the Grande Mademoiselle (1627-1893), Louis XIV's cousin, fell in deep love with Lauzun, who had, according to Saint-Simon, "the most mysterious of the gifts, appeal". Lauzun's valiant behavior during the sieges of Courtrai and Lille increased the princess' passion. Louis XIV could not accept the marriage of her cousin with such a low-rank nobleman, while the court enjoyed the first love story experienced by the more than 40-year old princess. The king eventually gave up but soon cancelled his approval upon pressure of the noblest lords of the court. Lauzun advised Mademoiselle to offer a dinner to Louis XIV and to thank him for having cancelled a marriage "she would have regretted within four days". To reward Lauzun for his understanding, the king appointed him Governor of Berry with an annuity of 50,000 pounds.
Madame de Montespan, still seeking revenge for the bedroom humiliation, persuaded Louis XIV that Lauzun was organizing a plot against his life; on 25 November 1671, Lauzun was arrested by (the true) D'Artagnan (1611-1673) and jailed for the next 10 years in the fortress of Pinerolo. Eventually liberated in 1677 after a failed attempt of escape, Lauzun was not even recognized by his own sister. Mademoiselle, still waiting for him, offered him several domains but he complained that "she gave him so few that he hardly accepted it". They possibly married in secret in 1682 and eventually split two years later, following Lauzun's misbehavior.
Lauzun was rehabilitated in 1688 when he brought back from revolted England the Queen and the Prince of Wales. In spite of Mademoiselle's wrath, Louis XIV called back Lauzun to the court. James II (1633-1701; r. 1685-1688) rewarded him with the Order of the Garter and appointed him chief of the unsuccessful expedition to Ireland. Not rancorous at all, Louis XIV made Lauzun a Duke; Mademoiselle died, still rancorous, in 1693. Two years later, Lauzun, aged 65, (re)-married with Geneviève-Marie de Durford, aged 15. Expecting to become quickly a rich widow, the young bride had to wait for another 28 years the death of her old husband. In his late age, Lauzun, more elegant and witty then ever, organized sumptuous receptions, which were the definitive places-to-be for the aristocrats who had rejected him for decades.
[source: municipal website]

Ivan Sache, 15 May 2022

Banner observed in Lauzun


Banner observed in Lauzun - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 6 April 2022

A vertical forked banner 1:4, with vertical stripes of the colours of the coat of arms, B-R-Y, can be seen in the streets of the village: photo (2012), photo (2012).

The coat of arms of Lauzun is blazoned: Tierced per bend Or, Gules and Azure.

Olivier Touzeau, 4 April 2022

These were the arms registered in the Armorial Général for Antoine Nompar de Caumont, Duke of Lauzun, Knight of the Order of the Garter, Captain of the First and Old Company of the Hundred Gentilhommes of the King's House. [source]

The Armorial also features the arms of Raymond de Caumont, Squire, Lord of Gaches (Guyenne), as "Per pale, 1. Azure three stars or in pale, 2. Tierced per bend or gules and azure." [source]

Ivan Sache, 15 May 2022